Chandramukhi (English: Moon-faced beauty) is a 2005 Indian Tamil-language horror comedy movie written and directed by P. Vasu, and was produced and distributed by Ramkumar Ganesan of Sivaji Productions. The film features Rajinikanth, Prabhu, Jyothika and Nayantara leading an ensemble cast that includes Vadivelu, Nassar, Sheela, Vijayakumar, Vinaya Prasad, Sonu Sood, Vineeth, Malavika and K. R. Vijaya. The film is a remake of Vasu’s Kannada film Apthamitra (2004), which itself is a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu (1993). The soundtrack album and background score were composed by Vidyasagar. Cinematography was handled by Sekhar V. Joseph and editing was done by Suresh Urs. Chandramukhi’s plot revolves around a woman who suffers from dissociative identity disorder that affects a family, and a psychiatrist who intends to solve the case while risking his life.
It was released on 14 April 2005 on the eve of the Tamil New Year. The film received positive reviews and was a major box office success. It was the longest running South Indian film, with a theatrical run of 890 days, until its record was overtaken by the Telugu film Magadheera (2009) which completed a theatrical run of 1000 days. The film won five Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, four Film Fans’ Association Awards and two Filmfare Awards. Jyothika and Vadivelu were each awarded a Kalaimamani Award for their work on the film.
Saravanan (Rajinikanth), a psychiatrist, visits India on vacation. He meets up with his foster brother Senthilnathan, alias Senthil (Prabhu), and his wife Ganga (Jyothika). Senthil’s mother Kasthuri (K. R. Vijaya) wanted Senthil to marry Priya (Malavika), the daughter of his father’s cousin Kandaswamy (Nassar), to reunite the two branches of the family after 30 years of separation because Senthil’s father (Sivaji Ganesan) chose to marry Kasthuri instead of Kandaswamy’s sister, Akhilandeshwari (Sheela). Saravanan learns that Senthil had bought the Vettaiyapuram mansion, despite attempts by the local village elders to dissuade them, and moves in with them. Akhilandeshwari is jealous of Saravanan and plots to kill him with the help of her assistant Oomaiyan (Sonu Sood).
When the family visits a temple, the chief priest reveals the reason everyone fears the Vettaiyapuram mansion. A hundred-and-fifty years ago, a king named Vettaiyan travelled to Vijayanagaram in Andhra Pradesh, where he met and fell in love with a dancer named Chandramukhi. However, she did not reciprocate his feelings as she was already in love with a dancer named Gunashekaran. As a result, Vettaiyan took her back to his palace by force. Unknown to him, Chandramukhi made Gunashekaran stay in a house nearby and had meetings with him secretly. When Vettaiyan discovered this, he beheaded Gunashekaran on Durgashtami and burnt Chandramukhi alive. As a result, Chandramukhi’s ghost tried to take revenge on Vettaiyan, who with the help of various priests and sorcerers from all over the country, tames the ghost by locking it up in a room located in the palace’s south-west corner. Later, Vishwanathan (Vineeth), a dance professor, and Priya’s love is supported by Saravanan, who asks Kandaswamy to arrange their marriage.
After hearing Chandramukhi’s story, Ganga, who thinks that the story was fabricated to scare thieves from stealing treasures in the room, wants to go there. She gets the room key from the gardener’s granddaughter Durga (Nayantara) and opens the door. Subsequently, strange things begin to happen in the household; a ghost frightens the people in the house, things inexplicably break, and Ganga’s sari catches fire. Suspicion turns towards Durga. Senthil calls Saravanan to solve the case. As soon as Saravanan returns, a mysterious being tries to kill Priya. Attempts to kill Senthil are made with poison and by pushing a fish tank. A mysterious voice sings during the night. Saravanan investigates these incidents.
Ganga mysteriously disappears during Priya and Viswanathan’s wedding reception. Saravanan notices her absence and searches for her, but he is almost killed by Oomaiyan—who has been sent by Akhilandeshwari. Saravanan subdues Oomaiyan and with Senthil’s help finds Ganga, who is supposedly being sexually harassed by Viswanathan. Saravanan reveals to Senthil and Viswanathan that Ganga suffers from split personality disorder. Saravanan explains to them how she became affected by it and how she took up Chandramukhi’s identity. He tells them Ganga tried to kill Priya and Senthil, and framed Viswanathan for sexual harassment because from Chandramukhi’s view, Viswanathan is her lover Gunashekaran since he stays at the same place Gunashekaran did. The only way to stop Chandramukhi is to make her believe Saravanan is dead since Saravanan impersonated Vettaiyan and disrupted one of the pujas conducted by the exorcist Ramachandra Acharya (Avinash) by conversing with the ghost to know its wish.
Akhilandeshwari overhears Saravanan’s idea of self-sacrifice and apologises to him. Later, in the dance hall, the family and Ramachandra Acharya allow Chandramukhi to burn Saravanan alive. Ramachandra Acharya blows smoke and ash on Ganga’s face when she is given a torch to burn Saravanan. Senthil then opens a trapdoor to let Saravanan escape, and an effigy of Vettaiyan gets burnt instead. Convinced that Vettaiyan is dead, Chandramukhi leaves Ganga’s body, curing her. The two families are reunited after 30 years; Saravanan and Durga fall in love, and Swarna (Suvarna Mathew) and Murugesan (Vadivelu) become parents after eight years of marriage.
Directed by P. Vasu
Produced by Ramkumar Ganesan & Prabhu
Screenplay by P. Vasu
Based on Manichitrathazhu by Madhu Muttam
Starring Rajinikanth, Prabhu, Jyothika, Nayantara
Music by Vidyasagar
Cinematography Sekhar V. Joseph
Edited by Suresh Urs
Production Sivaji Productions
Release dates 14 April 2005
Running time 164–167 minutes